The flexibility of soccer cannot be denied. For someone wanting to improve his/her skills in the game, this task is manageable and can be done in spite of the pandemic situation right now. Its low-maintenance, adaptable structure as a sport makes it helpful, usually requiring just a ball, some spikes, and some practice cones. Alternatively, you can use some used water bottles (in place of the cones), running shoes (for soccer spikes), and for the ball… well yeah, just own one. Much like basketball, it’s easy to create a day to day routine to kill that feeling of Groundhog Day that everyone’s been exposed to this 2020. In the city of Atlanta, it’s no different. Recently being coined as the “black soccer capital of America,” the opportunities to get better for not just the black youth, but for every person in Atlanta are endless.

 

Recreational parks in Atlanta are very accessible, there is an abundance of them. Drop by Silverbacks or Georgia Soccer Park one of these days and get a chance to finetune your keepy-uppies. With around 3,000 acres of abundant parkland and around 33 recreational centers, soccer enthusiasts can find a place to practice their skills. This could be from just practicing their control of the ball, dribbling skills, bringing in a training buddy/buddies, playing either Keep Away, or drills to improve one’s passing skills. The easy mechanics behind the sport make it more advantageous in this current time, as you can see with basketball (dribbling around the neighborhood) or baseball (practicing pitches in the backyard). It holds an advantage over football and hockey, where facilities right now might be hard to access, given the group nature of the sport as well. Rainy weather is definitely no hindrance, considering that the multitude of indoor facilities that people can access to play the indoor variant, known as futsal. This style arguably makes you an even better ballhandler as some would say.

 

You could even find places to play in the urban environment. Heck, when things were normal, you could even find kids playing soccer at what they call the “A,” a soccer field build on top of MARTA. These games aren’t even the standard regulated eleven-a-side games, they’re five-a-side games for your quick fix of association football. Nevertheless, it’s better than losing your mind at home about things you have no control over. 

 

With news that Major League Soccer games are to come back on the 8th of July, along with other leagues like the NBA at Disney World’s sports complex, as well as football leagues outside of the USA already coming back in operations, inspiration can definitely be derived further. Seeing their favorite football idols battling on live television, with the presence of some fake arena fan sounds (or not) will definitely spur some kids to get their boots on and start kicking. Not even a pandemic can stop a driven one to try to get better at this 2,000-year sport. So grab your boots, ball, and bottle and get kicking. 

 

By Evan

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